web analytics
August 29, 2015 / 14 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

I Never Do Anything Wrong

The-Shmuz

“Speak to Bnei Yisrael and say to them: any man whose wife shall go astray and commit treachery against him…” – Bamidbar 5:12

 

The Torah describes the details of a sotah. If a woman acts in a manner that causes her husband to suspect her of infidelity, he should warn her not to go into seclusion with that other man. If she violates this warning, then the husband is to take her to the kohen. The kohen will give her the “bitter waters” to drink. If she was unfaithful, she will instantly die. If she was not unfaithful, she will be redeemed and blessed.

When the Torah lays out the details, it uses an unusual expression: “If a man will tishteh his wife.” The word tishteh comes from the root shoteh, which means insanity. It’s as if to say, “If a man will accuse his wife of insanity.”

Rashi is troubled by the use of this expression. He explains, based on the Gemara, that adulterers do not sin until a wave of insanity enters them. The Siftei Chachmim explains this to mean, “until their yetzer hara teaches them it is permitted.”

It seems clear from the Siftei Chachaim that the modus operandi of the yetzer hara is to convince potential sinners that the act tempting them is permitted. Only when it succeeds, and they are convinced, will they then transgress.

This statement – people only sin when they are convinced it is permitted – seems difficult to understand. If we are dealing with a pious, proper Jewish woman who got into a bad situation, she knows the act she wants to commit is forbidden. How can the yetzer hara teach her it is permitted? On the other hand, the Torah may be speaking about the opposite extreme – a woman who has gone off the path and just doesn’t care. Why does she need the yetzer hara to tell her it is permitted? She doesn’t care.

So on both sides of the spectrum, the yetzer hara either should be unable to convince the person it is permitted – or it shouldn’t need to do any convincing.

The answer to this question is based on understanding one of the most consistent quirks of human nature: “I never do anything wrong. Whether sophisticated adults or schoolchildren, Supreme Court justices or convicted felons, humans seem never to do anything wrong. Wardens will tell you their jails are filled with self-proclaimed innocent men. Thieves aren’t wrong. Murderers aren’t wrong. You won’t find a gangster proclaiming, “Yes, it is evil to murder and pillage, but what can I do? I am weak and give into my desires.” Instead, you will hear an entire belief system explaining his approach to life is actually better for society and the world.

Why can’t a man just admit it is wrong to steal but he wants to do it anyway?

The reason for this has to do with the inner working of the human. Hashem created man out of two distinct parts. One is comprised all of the drives and passions found in the animal kingdom; it is simply base instincts and desires. The other part of man is pure intellect: holy, good and giving.

Because this part of me is made up of pure intellect and wisdom, it would never allow me to sin. It sees the results too clearly. It understands that all of Hashem’s commandments are for my good and that every sin damages me. Because of this crystal clear insight, the human would not have the free will to sin. In theory, he could be tempted to sin, but he would never actually come to the act. It would be akin to sticking his hand in a fire. In theory he could do it, but it would never happen. So if Hashem created man with just these two parts, man would not have free will in a practical sense.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of TheShmuz.com. The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at www.TheShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “I Never Do Anything Wrong”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Former Arkansas Governor and current presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee in Jerusalem.
Official PA Media Calls Huckabee ‘Inane Creature’ and ‘Wicked Man’
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

The common translation of the opening words of this week’s parsha, Ki Seitzei, is: “When you go out to war against your enemy.” Actually the text reads “al oyvecha” upon your enemy. The Torah is saying that when Israel goes out to war, they will be over and above their enemy. The reason why Bnei […]

Rabbi Avi Weiss

The love between Gd & Israel is deeper than marriage; beyond the infinite love of parent for child

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Since giving the machatzis hashekel will not change his financial situation, he is obligated to do so even though it is more than a fifth of his income.

Today, few people fast during the Days of Selichot, but the custom is to rise early to recite Selichot.

Each month is associated with a particular tribe. The month of Elul is matched up with Gad. What makes Gad unique?

Sanctions and indictment of the Jew, holding him to a higher standard, is as common and misplaced as ever.

To allow for free will, there are times when Hashem will allow a person the “opportunity to be the messenger.”

“There is a mitzvah to pay the worker on that day,” answered Mr. Lerner.

Be happy. Be grateful. God knows what he is doing. It is all happening for a reason.

We get so busy living our lives, handling our day-to-day little crises that we forget to go that one step deeper and appreciate our lives.

The promise for long life only comes from 2 commandments; What’s the connection between them?

Mighty Amalek deliberately attacked enemy’s weakest members, despicable even by ancient standards

If we parents fail to honor responsibilities then society’s children will pay the price for our sins

Consider how our Heavenly Father feels when He sees His children adopting all other parents but Him

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
Shmuz-logo-NEW

To allow for free will, there are times when Hashem will allow a person the “opportunity to be the messenger.”

Shmuz-logo-NEW

Everything you see – from the flower to the bee, from the oceans to the mountains, rivers, planets, the sun, the moon and the stars – all just sort of happened.

“When Hashem…will broaden your boundary as He spoke to you, and you say, ‘I will eat meat,’ for you will have a desire to eat meat, to your heart’s entire desire you may eat meat.” – Devarim 12:20   For forty years in the midbar the Jewish people ate mon. Guided by Moshe Rabbeinu, engaged […]

The farmer understands he didn’t bring the rain. It wasn’t his acumen that stopped the pestilence.

Man has conflicting wishes and desires. Man has forces pulling him in competing directions.

On Super Bowl Sunday itself, life seems to stop. Over one hundred million people watch the game. About half of the households in the country show it in their living rooms and dens.

We are affected by our environment. Our perspective on the world is affected by what those around us do.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/i-never-do-anything-wrong/2014/05/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: